Checkpoints          December 2020              Foster Bitton

GBNF: Marlo Mellum, a member of CS-20 and a Falcons Hockey standout, passed away on 14 Sep and was buried in International Falls, MN. Classmates’ memories of Marlo include the following. Brad Lindsey: “We ‘stole’ Marlo’s shoes just before his wedding ceremony and in big, bold letters put HE on the left shoe and LP on the right. Got some good chuckles when they knelt at the altar.” Charles Buck: “Didn't Marlo hold the Academy's hockey record for most time spent in the penalty box?” Tom Peterson: “I will miss his irreverence.” Marlo’s obituary is posted on the GBNF page of 75bestalive.org.

I think this was a record quarter for inputs from ‘75s for Checkpoints. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who took the time to send in a blurb. Several of you also sent in pictures, and I’m sorry Checkpoints only has space for three per quarter. The good news is that I send all of the pictures I don’t use to Bill Estelle, and he posts most of them on 75bestalive.org.

Kudos: Dr. Scott Swanson was recently appointed as the 2020-2021 President of the Board of Directors, American Urological Association, a professional medical association with more than 23,000 members worldwide. It is the first time in 117 years a urologist from the Mayo Clinic has served in this position.

Dr. Jim Foster is hanging up his scalpel and stethoscope at Virginia Tech's Carilion Clinic after 20 years as a USAF Doc and 25 more on the civilian side. He was hoping to celebrate his retirement at our 45th reunion, but life got in the way. At least he won't get hit with the "retirement" bar tab!

“Ebola” Bill Lyerly reports he’s “going absolutely crazy not being able to travel internationally for so long.” To take his mind off his wanderlust, he’s been serving as a Chief Strategy Advisor for a $1.4 billion startup biotech company based out of Singapore. He was actually offered the CEO position but told them his heart probably wouldn’t take it, literally!

Vote! Boyd Fritzsche, Class of ‘08 (offspring of one each, Bruce, Class of ’75), is running for a chair on the AOG Board of Directors in February. Bruce unequivocally states that he has thoroughly vetted Boyd and “humbly, without any familial bias whatsoever,” endorses him. Really Bruce? What about that time when Boyd was a teenager and you would have sold him to a band of gypsies for a sleeve of Pro V1s? How quickly we forget.

Better Late than…Remember the trivia challenge from the April issue of Checkpoints concerning classmates who played in Hollywood movies? Rick Layman sent in this timely response. “My ‘bragging rights’ extend to having been on C-Span almost daily for about three weeks back in the early 80’s, and then appearing briefly on a show called ‘Trip Flip’ three or four years ago. Then my family and I were on a PBS show about guest ranches two years back, and we were also in one of Olivia Newton-John’s music videos, ‘Liv On.’ Lastly, I played on the ‘big stage,’ appearing on the jumbotron in Yankee Stadium back in 2012 (Photo 1 Below). Alas, no movie or TV contracts, and no credits.” So Duck, you not only missed the suspense by three months, you also didn’t answer the question, and you didn’t have a legitimate claim to any credits! Seriously though, that’s an impressive list of on-screen appearances.

What Pandemic? COVID-19 has been doing a number on everyone, but inputs from several classmates show the “illegtimi non carborumdum” spirit is alive and well. Paul Kent became a first-time grandpa on 17 Sep. When he wasn’t doting over his grandchild, he hiked four days in the Olympic Mountains and five days along the Pacific Coast Trail (Photo 2 Below). He even had his first face-to-face stare down with a black bear, which turned out to be a non-event as the critter turned and ran when Paul clicked his trekking poles above his head.

Our Scribe's tribute to Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Murray

The Aussie woke me up at four,
            Because he thinks he must.
He’s sure that if I sleep in late,
            My joints will turn to rust.
 
I’ve told the fleabag several times,
            I’d rather sleep in late.
I see no need to leave my bed
            Before the clock strikes eight.
 
He acts as though he’s listening,
            But it’s an act, of course,
For when I peer into his eyes,
            I cannot find remorse.
 
“You have no soul!” I wail at him.
            “You have to change!” I holler.
To which he yawns, and then sits down,
            And scratches at his collar.
 
From man’s best friend, I wanted more.
            I wanted some compassion.
Instead, I get a wake up call
            Each day in wet-nosed fashion.

Carl (VP) Van Pelt hosted a Playboy 19 Mini-Reunion and Golf Adventure in Leesburg, VA, 10-13 Sep. Lucky Corrigan, Rick Sarver, and Buck Rogers spent the days tasting VP’s scotch collection, telling stories that spanned 49 years, bragging on kids, learning yoga stretching from Rick (which carries an automatic revocation of their manly manhood cards), and playing golf. Buck humbly reported that he and Sarv kicked VP’s and Lucky’s derrieres and pocketed enough cash to almost pay for a couple of burgers and fries.

The Desert Duffers, a foursome consisting of Rich Chanick ('75), Jeff Hackett ('75), David Keene ('75), and Jim Crocco ('76), carded a 6 under par 66 at Poston Butte Golf Course in Florence, Arizona on 25 Sep to take tenth place in this year's (Virtual) Falcon Classic Golf Tournament. Not bad for playing in 103° heat!

In July, Ed Zerambo, Bud Calloway, Bob Thompson, Duane Lodridge, and their wives spent three weeks cycling on gravel bikes in Glacier National Park and areas surrounding Seeley Lake, Montana. Jim Schuman drove the support truck and handed out gratuitous encouragement at random intervals. After the Montana adventure, the Thompsons, Duane, and his wife, Michelle Farout, finished with a 3-day portion of Adventure Cycling's Idaho Hot Springs Loop (Photo 3 Below). To observe COVID restrictions, they ate all meals outdoors and drove their own vehicles. Duane planned the trip and recalled that they talked a lot about knees, which is understandable since Bud had one partial knee replacement and another scheduled post trip, Bob had a torn ACL while skiing a couple years back, Ed also had a knee replacement scheduled, and Duane had a recent scope that removed 25 "artifacts." Bob’s and Duane’s wives were celebrating turning 60, which, of course, resulted in both husbands joking about struggling with the thought of being married to 60-year-old women. When one thinks about it, that is a sobering thought.

Robert Hickox sold his house in Minnesota and moved to North Carolina to be near grandchildren and to get warm. Following the move, he completed a 1000K virtual walking challenge in 68 days, a 475-mile virtual cycling challenge in 55 days, and is now in a 1083-mile cycling/walking challenge. He says he’s lost 15 pounds but still can’t fit into his A-jacket (Photo 4 Below).


After this column went to press, the Association of Graduates learned of the death of Mr. John R. Sutton.



Checkpoints Extras


Wreaths Across America


 

From Bruce Fritzsche: Wreaths Across America will once again be providing wreaths to adorn the 1,300-plus graduate and veteran resting places at the Cemetery this Holiday Season. Through your overwhelming support in previous years, all USAFA veteran’s graves received a wreath, as well as veteran graves at Memorial Gardens Cemetery and the Pikes Peak National Cemetery in Colorado Springs.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, we will again have a wreath laying ceremony at the USAFA Cemetery. We are requesting your generous support for this event.

To sponsor a wreath, please go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org and click on the “Sponsor Wreaths” red button. If you sponsor two wreaths, the Academy Cemetery will receive a third wreath free. Thank you in advance for your continued support!

Bruce Fritzsche, ’75
Location Coordinator for Wreaths Across America
USAF Academy

 

 

1. Bruce Fritzsche presiding over the Wreath laying ceremony.

4. Jim Burling, Larry Bryant, & Bruce Fritzsche.

Photos Courtesy of Air Force Academy (Official), Association of Graduates, & Bruce Fritzsche


Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate         October 2020


Bruce Mitchell represented the Class of '75 at the October 2020 CAS Meeting. Minutes HERE.


USAFA Board of Visitors


Dave Ehrhart was recently elected as Chairman of the Board of Visitors. Story HERE:


Class of '75 'Portable Reunion'


From Frank McIntire, Class of '74: I have been writing books since 1977 (a 2 Lt at Nellis). Quite a few now. Got the idea and wrote a book for my Class of '74 reunion last year. When I learned of the Class of '75 reunion cancellation from Mark and Lucy Donnelly, I got the idea to celebrate Class of '75's third class year. Mark was a three-degree in CS-07, my wife Pat introduced Mark to her high school BFF named Lucy. The rest is history. I was 2nd Class Cadet in CS-07, so I wrote 'true fiction' about the Class of '75 joining their new squadrons as three-smokes.

Stories are a fusion of real events, real stories from Class of '75 third-degree year, and the fusion of 'fictionalized' true stories drawn from active duty Air Force (in the politically incorrect post-Vietnam War era). Stories deliver themes of the time: everyone gets an ashtray at in-processing, the smoking lamp is lit, everyone 'lights up' including the AOC, Comm, and Supt. Songs of the time frame bring back memories. Stardust and squadron exchanges with cadet orientation rides (fictionalized to make stories more fun). Late night true fiction using the gray elephant, towels and washcloths to create a steam room and swimming pool in the bathroom. Exploring the tunnels. Riding the elevators. A crazy command post cadet OIC who is preparing for commissioning in the US Marine Corps. The Fourth Group AOC Marine Corps Lt Col, callsign 'the green onion'. Stories presented in the third person with the focus on the different characters in each chapter.

The foreword is the arrival of the Class of '75 at the base of the Bring Me Men Ramp then fast forward to Christmas and Hell Week, then June Week at the end of the book.

Each chapter is a mini-story and advances the action with true fiction, scandals, competition between the leadership power centers, a totally fictional 'ghost of Fairchild Hall' that helps cadets, pulls puppet strings behind the scenes, gives cadets EI, etc.

Some may object to the references and scenes in CS-07 vs the whole Academy in general. The whole Academy is covered, just from the base in CS-07. I have edited the document a lot to remove objectionable references (e.g.; changed 'Confederate Colonel' reference to 'Kentucky Colonel', etc.).

The book was crafted as a 'portable reunion' for the Class of '75.



 

Read the first chapter HERE. Get the complete book HERE.

 


USAFA Construction Projects Updates


Air Gardens

 
 

The Air Garden restoration project is moving along. Representatives from the three classes that have contributed to the restoration of the USAFA Air Garden toured the project Thursday, Oct. 1. Col. (Ret.) Chester “Skip” Morgan ’72, Col. (Ret.) Larry Fariss ’75, Col. (Ret.) Joe Wysocki ’76 and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Scott Gough ’76 received updates on the construction progress. Donors from the USAFA classes of 1972, 1975 and 1976 — in partnership with the Academy — contributed to the renovation of the Air Garden on the Terrazzo. Work began June 15 on the project, which will restore the original look of the garden, including multiple pools and plantings. As originally designed, the garden flowed for 700 feet through a series of reflective pools, flanked by sunken planters, and intertwined with a labyrinth of aggregate granite walkways, winding through a collection of woodland trees and plants. When completed, the restoration will look as it did originally, but it will incorporate new technologies to enhance the maintainability and sustainability of the Air Garden for years to come. Final plans also include two new outdoor classrooms within the Air Garden.

– Association of Graduates, October 2020


Cadet Chapel

 

Contractors working on the Cadet Chapel restoration project are completing the last third of the structural steel for the temporary enclosure or cocoon, according to Marty Rickett, senior project manager for JE Dunn.

“We are about to start roofing activities and are looking to complete the enclosure structure by the end of the year and start the fabric skin first of next year,” he said.

A recent milestone was the selection both the metal panel cladding panels and trim with the government and historians. Along with the selection of the panels, the JE Dunn “skin team” has been working closely with the government and the design team on the shop drawings for the building envelope. In addition, work is beginning on the asbestos removal process, Rickett reports.

“On the interior, our abatement contractor has started to abate a tetrahedron to fine tune their method of procedure,” he reported. “Judson Studios also documented each dalle de verre cassette and is working on compiling the photos and turning over the information to the Academy for their records before any removal occurs.”

In terms of offsite activities, JE Dunn conducted a successful site visit — along with the government team — to the organ restoration partners shop to witness the ongoing restoration of the organs.

“Everyone saw how much care was being put into the restoration effort and came away impressed,” Rickett said. “JE Dunn and the pew restoration partner also kicked off the rinsing of the Protestant pews. This is the process of removing the layers of stain and finish to expose what repairs need to be made.”

– Association of Graduates, November 2020


December Album

     

 

1. Bill Spencer: This was to be my Academy class’s 45th Reunion weekend, but it was Coviderated. Still, we’re ready. I can see the stadium from my house, but that’s as close as we’ll get. Do you think they can hear me? GO BLUE!!! SINK NAVY!!!! (October 2020)

2. Paul Kent with his newest granddaughter. (Victoria Siebert, October 2020)

3. Kent & Carole Traylor at Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado. (Meagan Counts, October 2020)

4. Bill Murray with daughter Evelyn in Greenwich, Connecticut. (Evelyn Murray, October 2020)

 

5. A '75er along the Pantano River in Tucson, Arizona. (October 2020)

6. Rick Kim in one of his many faces as an active member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (October 2020)

7. Tom Burns (Center) with friends celebrating the opening of a neighborhood park in Shalimar, Florida. (Mark Franks, November 2020)

8. Mike & Sharon Matte attired for a Halloween outing (we hope). (Sharon Matte, November 2020)

 

9. Steve Duresky: Halloween fun in Niceville with my pirate Queen. (November 2020)

10. Michael Gudmundson with friend Mike Lockett. (Mike Lockett, November 2020)

11. Ric Rosborg afloat: Great late season day on the water! (November 2020)

12. Karen Exelby: JJ made his Papa (Gary) a Veteran's Day card. (November 2020)

 

13. Stan Jones at the office. (November 2020)

14. Mickey & Jeannine Clemons: First trip since the virus. Ready to visit our family in Costa Mesa, California. I guess this is the new look. (November 2020)

15. Bill & Kathy Carrothers with an assemblage of family and friends at Perkins Tower Overlook, Bear Mountain, New York. (November 2020)

16. Michael & René Anderson with their large family of four-legged friends. (November 2020)

 

17. Ben & Ginny Bosma at Charleston Falls Preserve, Ohio. (November 2020)

18. Michael Heil at the Ron Fellows Performace Driving School in Pahrump, Nevada: Catching some air in a Corvette C8!. (December 2020 )  

19. Grandpa Oleh Stefaniuk with Luke. (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, December 2020)

20. Bob Akers: Merry Christmas to my '75 Classmates. I will forever remember the zeal of finishing exams and scrambling to the airport to get home to loved ones for Christmas. I hope you're able to rekindle that spirit this Christmas. 75BA. (December 2020)

 

21. Thanksgiving dinner in Mitchell Hall, November 2020. (Joshua Armstrong, Official USAFA Photo)

22. Mike DeHart and his family at Thanksgiving. (Liz DeHart, November 2020)

23. Bill Spencer: And to “wrap” things up, favorite daughter-in-law taught a tamale tutorial for the family. I think we passed. And yes, that is my older granddaughter on the right. And yes, she is that tall. And yes, the tamales are great—just like my favorite daughter-in-law. (December 2020)

24. Two old gasbags (Steve Schiemann & Bill Estelle) at the site of another famous gasbag. (December 2020)

 

25. Dave Wallace: It's good to be retired AND have a ski hill right here. (Janet Middleton Wallace, December 2020)

26. Steve Duresky: Here's a ridiculously cute pic of our newest grandchild, Heidi, at three months, hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa. What a holiday treat! (December 2020)

27. Dave & Patti Ruddock: At the 2020 Botanical Gardens Lights. Merry Christmas! (December 2020)

28. John & Jennifer Kambourian: Really, really cold! (December 2020)

 

29. Greg & Peggy Berlan celebrating Peggy's birthday with friends. (Carol Graham Nicholson, December 2020)

30. Bob & Jill Akers: “But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come around – apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that – as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut up hearts freely, and to think of people as if they were really fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” (From Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”). Sounds like “Love your neighbor” to me. God bless us, everyone. Merry Christmas. (December 2020)

31. John Charlton: I must have been a good boy this year. Santa brought me what I asked for. (December 2020)

32. Sandy Terr & Liz with some of the grandchildren. (Lauren Monnett, December 2020)

 

33. Eric, Elizabeth, & Matthew Rosborg at Birch Ridge Lodge, Vermont. (December 2020)

34. Bill & Maggie Ann Buchta with some of their grandchildren. (Maggie Ann Buchta, December 2020)

35. Mark & Mary Dwyer Volcheff with Paul Volcheff. (Mary Dwyer Volcheff, December 2020)

36. Rick Kim. (December 2020)

 
 

37. Mark Donnelly: Won another T-shirt this morning! (December 2020)

38. Wes Routh celebrating his birthday with two of his favorite people. (Tim Routh, December 2020)

39. Bob & Linda Hamil Orwig at the Montaluce Winery and Restaurant, Dahlonega, Georgia. (December 2020)


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